Sunday, April 30, 2006

Say no to Mandal 2

The proposed increase in OBC reservation from 22.5% to 27% in premier educational institutes in India has created the big students' uprising here. (The photo is from AFP taken  during the students' uprising against reservation). The proposal seems to be politically motivated to garner up the vote share for congress in the election period.
It's government duty to provide equal oppurtunities for all its citizens to lead a normal life. A child from economically backward class has to face lot of challenges in family. When comes to competing with peer group in getting a good education, he/she stands in a disadvantage position. Historically reservation started to supplement this difference. Few percent of seats in educational institution are reserved in quotas for different segment of the people.
Mind my words usage when describing, it is economically backward class and it's not caste. This is the place where politics has enter into reservation policy. Linking caste with class is the historical blunder. It's like generalising people based on their sun signs- say Taureans are soft hearted people, lets reserve 15% of management seats for them. Funny, isn't it? Giving reservations based on the caste itself is a joke, besides that these stupid politicians keeps on increasing the quota.
The creamy layer idealogy essentially means there are different segments of people in same caste in different economic classes. When you prefer caste based reservation system, the whole idea of supplementing those disadvantaged people in their challenges gets defeated. So, what can be the possible solution?
Lets take the good points in arguments of those for and against the reservation. Lets develop a situation where consensus in a good reservation policy be arrived at. My take would be - lets categorise people based on their economy and livelihood. Propose reservation based on economic classes. Update people's status based on constant feedback and update their status. It's not that impossible. Indian census does this segregation and lets improve on the system. We have the all the essential system in place, refining the system based on consensus is what is needed.

Friday, April 28, 2006

Polluted water bodies

According to Wikipedia, Water (from the Old English waeter; German Wasser), in its pure form, is a tasteless, odourless substance that is essential to all known forms of life and is known also as the most universal solvent. It appears colourless to the naked eye in small quantities, though it can be seen to be blue in large quantities or with scientific instruments.

This natural resource is becoming more scarce in certain places, and its availability is a major social and economic concern.

Currently, about one billion people around the world routinely drink unhealthy water. Poor water quality and bad sanitation are killers; some five million deaths a year are caused by polluted drinking water.

Hardly surprising, since in the developing world, 90 per cent of all wastewater still goes untreated into local rivers and streams. Some 50 countries, with roughly a third of the world's population, also suffer from medium or high water stress, and 17 of these extract more water annually than is recharged through their natural water cycles. The strain affects surface freshwater bodies like rivers and lakes, and also degrades groundwater resources.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Remembrance of Times Past

OpinionJournal - From BY GEORGE MELLOAN : In 1990 the world was full of promise. How does it look today?

"Russian imperialism is again on the march, under the leadership of a KGB clique in the Kremlin who never quite lost their taste for authoritarianism.

The Israel-Arab relationship is worse than in 1990, at least in political terms. Bill Clinton and Yitzhak Rabin of Israel made a colossal mistake in 1994 of granting a lifelong terrorist, Yasser Arafat, power over Gaza and West Bank Arabs. His Oslo Treaty pledge to recognize Israel's right to exist was pure fakery, and today Palestinian terrorists are still striving to drive Israel into the sea.

Europe in 1990 was trying with mixed success to stabilize monetary exchange rates and German Chancellor Helmut Kohl was about to make a costly mistake in granting newly liberated East Germans a monetary regime that would effectively price their broken-down industries out of competition with the rest of Europe. But despite the huge bills the Germans footed after putting the east on the dole, Continental Europe finally solved the exchange-rate problem in 2002 by adopting a single currency, the euro.

Europe's major achievements since 1990 have been the single currency, further progress toward a single market, and a more than doubling of European Union membership to 25 states with a combined population of 460 million and economic output roughly equivalent to the U.S. But "Old Europe" still labors with high unemployment and sluggish economic growth, in part because its elaborate welfare benefits subsidize idleness. The frictions between native peoples and immigrants have become more acute. Europe is no longer as reliable a U.S. North Atlantic partner as it was in 1990."

Hubble Space Telescope's 16th Anniversary

The Hubble Space Telescope, the most successful space telescope ever, that paved the way for a deeper understanding of the universe and unraveled the mysteries of the cosmos, celebrates it's 16th anniversary today.

Read more on it at;

Monday, April 24, 2006

Barefoot Summer; Lost Voice(s)

A sad loss of life.

(Photo taken from Nanyaar)

Read about it here;[JusticeProtest1];[Farewell];[Justice3].

On April 20th, 2006, an Indian student, Prashant Anchalia fell to his death at the University of Yereven, Armenia. Due to severe negligence in the part of Armenian medical authorities and the university itself, the still conscious student passed away.

The Indians students of University of Armenia is requesting help in highlighting the issue and addressing possible solutions to prevent such incident in the future. I request anyone who has the slightest concern towards the great injustice done, to address this issue in your blogs and website and please spread the word to make sure the death of Prashant doesn't go unnoticed.

The core of the issue lies in the fact that millions of foreign students around the world does not have proper protection by the laws of the countries they study in. Basically, they are all considered foreigners with the same rules and regulation as workers who migrate. And this death is not the first and it will not be the last unless we act today. Please take steps to convey your support to the students in Yereven and also lets take action today ensure that the lives of the millions are not in danger.

There are many horror stories from universities around the world, particularly from third world country universities of harassment, rapes and murder of foreign students whose truth remain hidden in the dustbins of politicians. The home countries protecting their economic and political interests often turn a deaf ear towards such incidents and the students themselves who try to raise a concern are subjected to political harassment. As we speak and convey this issue, there are still students in countries like Russia and Ukraine who are beaten up and robbed.

Students should and must have special rights in any country. Students are in the forefront of the next generation and carry the dreams and hopes of parents and their home country. As much as we strive for the freedom of internet and human rights, we must also stand up to speak of the rights of students of all age. Beyond borders, colors and religion, the same tragedy can happen to anyone.

Understanding the pain and struggles of these students who take to the streets to fight for justice, and understanding the pain that the parents of Prashant is going through, lets come together and voice out for justice. There are several organizations that you can contact to convey your feelings and highlight the issue. Send a message to the International Secretariat of Amnesty International;[VoiceOut], the Human Rights Watch;[HRW] and United Nations;[UN].

If everyone thinks that students around the world, be it at their home countries or foreign students should have their own human rights watch, declaration and justice, then let us gather our might and voices to fight for our fellow friends. If anyone wants to start a blog, website for the truth to be heard, and justice to prevail do let us know. Lets speak for peace together.

Everyone should know of their rights as the citizen of earth;United Nations Human Rights Charter.

Rest in Peace Prashant Anchalia.
May God bless the souls who left early on an uncharted journey.
Your voices and life will be redeemed.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

April 23 is World Book and Copyright Day

Have you ever opened a book, begun reading and then instantly disappeared into the pages? If you haven't then you have missed the best adventures in life. Every book has a story to tell. It could be historical, geographical, literary, poetry almost anything. The book will take you to places you have never been to and sometimes can never even dream to be in. Reading a story set in history will take you back to an age you have not experienced. You can imagine the people of that time, their concerns, their achievements, the kind of houses they lived in, the kind of food they ate. In your mind's eye you visualize the life of people you have never seen. It is the same with any other kind of book. You are immediately transported into another world, and in doing so you experience the magic of the unknown

It is to celebrate the joy of reading that UNESCO has set aside April 23 as World Book and Copyright Day. So how did they fix the date? April 23 happens to be the day (in 1616) when three great writers Miguel de Cervantes, William Shakespeare and Inca Garcilasco de la Vega died. It is also the date of birth and death of the other prominent authors such as Maurice Druon, Halldor K. Laxness, Vladimir Nabokov, Josep Pla and Manuel Mejía Vallejo. So, on April 23 UNESCO encourages people the world over to appreciate the power of the written word and also remember those who have made exceptional contributions to Literature. April 23 is also World Copyright Day. According to there website: UNESCO's commitment to copyright dates from as far back as 1952, when the Universal Copyright Convention was adopted.

The advance in technology has many benefits but there is also a downside to it. For example while people queued up outside bookstores to collect their first copy of the highly priced Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince, the piracy market was already at work and very soon cheaper books were sold on pavements and even on the roads at traffic lights! It is to prevent this kind of thing that UNESCO finds the need for awareness campaigns to raise the level of protection and also to act as a deterrent to piracy. Every time you buy a book that has been printed in violation of the Copyright Act you are aiding in piracy and violating the Copyright policy. So on April 23 let us all make a promise to read and also support the need for copyright to be protected.

Earth Day

Earth Day is celebrated every year on the 22nd of April to commemorate our struggles and effort to safeguard the diversity and importance of our planets flora and fauna. In essence, the day appreciates nature and encourages it's protection and continuation. Google once again had a nice google logo for the occasion.

More info;
[Wiki-ED Links]

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Joan Miró

Google celebrates Joan Miro's anniversay with this special Google logo today. Joan Miro is a Spanish artist specializing in Surrealism art and lived between 1893 to 1983.

Read more here;

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Hillsborough Disaster Remembrance

17 years ago, the greatest football tragedy in English history happened at the Hillsborough Stadium during the match between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest. 96 innocent lives were lost and the history of English football will change forever.

The Hillborough disaster remembrance is held every year on the 15th of April, the day of the tragedy.

Read more about it;
[Wiki] [LFC-Memorial] [LFC'06]

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Extreme Engineering

Fancy a mile high skyscraper? Or a Transatlantic underwater tunnel? Discovery Channels Extreme Engineering series highlighted some of the most ambitious structures planned today. View the interactive archives here;[DEE-Amazing].

The list of all the projects covered in the series;[Wiki-EXtreme]

A similar program's in the National Geographics Channel;[Wiki-Mega]

Sunday, April 09, 2006

The Sway of Bollywood

With a sprinkling of fairy dust, Bollywood transforms the world into a dream riddled with fun in the form of music, dance and colorful beauty, where most people live comfortably and very few need worry about survival. This, of course, is in sharp contrast to the life lived by the target audience of the average Bollywood film and I suppose that would be the whole point...
Whilst most in India struggle to find work, make ends meet, enjoy life and marry in the name of love instead of family ordained suitability; those on the silver screen live the highly sought after, but rarely attained, notion of the good life, where you work for fun and your sole responsibility towards others is to show that throughout all the insignificant trials and tribulations of an altogether undifficult life, love will always triumph.
I apologise in advance for being negative about a genre cherished by so many, (be advised that my scepticism will wane later on ) but Bollywood is positively unrealistic. In most circumstances, it just influences the audience to think that what they have is not enough to be happy with and if they could simply work and struggle and push their children hard enough to be wealthy, georgeous and enviable, they could also happily live the glamourous, carefree, love-filled and largely unattainable lives lived by those seen in the films.
To those working in the industry, I would say that your influence on people is not particularly admirable. When you could be pushing for people to be more charitable and good towards an in-need of help Mother India, you prefer to use the money, talent and famous faces you have to reaffirm the importance of wealth, fun and love: things that are sometimes out of one's reach.
But the greatest hypocrisy of all in Bollywood and the pinnacle of unrealism is yet to be reached. This, of course, happens when the films shoot overseas (thereby supporting already-rich foreign economies) so as to quench the audience's desire to see more of the well-to-do and their lives and less of the Indian reality which includes a hardly ever shown in films side to India where there simply is not enough for everybody when a few players decide to hold all the cards for wealth, government, status, education and employment. What deliberate ignorance to worship the unreal.
On a lighter and chirpier note, I must admit, unrealism in film has its benefits though for good old India. All you have to do to see manifestations of India's wealth is look at the level of creative flow coursing through a popular Bollywood film. Nothing even comes near to the level of art coming out of India these days in these films in the form of a visual feast with music and dance from the likes of directors such as Sanjay Leela Bhansali, musical maestros such as AR Rahman and Anu Malik and dance masters such as Shiamak Davar, Vaibhavi Merchant and Saroj Khan.
All you need to do, to feel that there is still true patronage of grace, in art, alive and well in the world today, is look at a well-backed Hindi film. There is nothing an audience could love better than a good Bollywood song and dance number with one Bollywood beauty opposite one Bollywood cutie who together keep the passions running high throughout the film. I guess it's this unending lineup of beauties and cuties that keep you rivetted to the screen in spite of all that poor acting, corniness to the extreme and utter lack of plot driving the narrative. This together with the poetry of words coming from the Hindi and Urdu languages would manage to keep most audiences mesmerised in spite of everything.
So if you were to ask me for examples of Hindi movies worth watching for the music, dance, poetry and, of course, beauties including Aishwarya Rai (a former Miss World), Kajol and Rani Mukherjee and cuties like Shah Rukh Khan and Aamir Khan, I would give you the names of a few films of interest including Taal (musically divine), Dil To Pagal Hai (dance spectacular), Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge (romantic saga) , Bombay (moving) , Dil Se (great music and issues), Lagaan (Oscar nominee) , Devdas ( grandeur unparalleled), 1947 Earth (a movie with actual substance), Bunty Aur Bubli (funny), Monsoon Wedding (includes the real India that sometimes make you squirm in discomfort), Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam (stunning visually), Saathiya (inspired by the Tamil film Alaipaiyuthey) , Kuch Kuch Hota Hai (crowd pleaser) and Kabhi Kushi Kabhi Gham (winner of the popularity contest and also with some great comedy and heartfelt moments)
All these movies are great to watch for their entertainment value but perhaps not all what they could be intellectually. What I sometimes feel is holding the entire industry back from world domination is the almost complete and total lack of substantial content, complex characters or admirable plot in any movie that has garnered popularity in the last few years. If just one famous actor or director could find themselves a decent story to get involved with, we'd all be saved.
I'd actually be able to sit through a Hindi movie without guiltily thinking that I was lowly enough to be watching the equivalent of a tv soapie or a Mills & Boon novel (so unchallenging that you would expect a person to be ashamed of reading them). Bollywood tries so hard to evade making the audience think, question or enter a state of turmoil that, as a member of the audience, you almost feel as if you are the lesser being.
Ten years ago, I would have said that North India just had to look to the South and be smart enough to be able to recognise a plot when it sees one. But now South India seems to be going by the popularity of Bollywood films and copying the lack of substance of all thing's North. Ten years ago I was proud of South Indian movies, especially those in Malayalam. They may not have been hip or glamourous but they had a level of intellectual credibility that had arthouse written all over it and the actors, like Mohanlal, could actually act. Movies such as Manichitratazhu, Devaragam, Desadanam and Aaran Thampuran had enough art, plots and real-life complications to make them memorable.
So, what I'm basically saying is, to anyone listening out there who has any connections to Bollywood, ask someone who holds some sway over the film industry to have the gall to do a remake of a movie like Manichitrathazhu, Bollywood style. The way I see it, that kind of a movie could actually contain enough Bollywood as well as intellectual elements to sustain any audience's appetite and then we would all have a truly applaudable blockbuster Indian movie to watch, proudly.
Don't get me wrong after seeing me critique the genre, I see that Bollywood has the potential to outdo every other film industry in the world and become the greatest source of inspiration for generations to come, I just want to see it reach that altitude soon so that I get to see films on a regular basis that make me think whilst enjoying a combination of high art with entertainment.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

10 Most Admired Companies In Innovation

Rank Company
1 Apple Computer
2 Google
3 UnitedHealth Group
4 Procter & Gamble
5 Walt Disney
6 FedEx
7 Genentech
8 Nike
9 Advanced Micro Devices
10 Target

[-] The 10 most admired companies for innovation in the states according to FORTUNE. Good to know that AMD is in there, and Intel is not!

[-] The full list;[BestFortune]

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

The Chennai Central Railway station sculpture is celebrating its 100th Year today.

Chennai Central Railway station is celebrating its 100th year today. Central Railway station is oldest and tradition of India. It was constructed in British period. This railway station dint change form its great heritage nature and now also it was an unhide monument in all of our minds. No one-can denial, that in Tamil Films this Railway station tower is the only identity for us that this scene was taken in Chennai.

The tourist who comes form long distance to chennai, if they travel in Train or not, they will never forget to see this Railway Station. Some will take photos, so that whey can enjoy every day by seeing its beauty. The railway station, which got these Best things, is entering its 100th designed year today. Central Railway station was started in 1873, April 7. That time, the place like Hall, which is between the Booking office and 6th platform was act as Railway station. That place was also act as Booking office and lodging for passengers. Now also that place was called as Hall.

In Railway station the tentative place like 3,4,5, and 6 platforms self was there in that time. Very low trains were went and come. First time the train was started in double way between Chennai and Arakonam (a town near chennai). But after days go, the passenger’s visit was increased. Next to this stage, the railway was in a situation to extend the Railway station. For that in 1905 on April 4, the newly designed Railway station was opened. The British Engineer Chisholm its self designed the Railway station, for this he got 5,000 rupees award.

After paying the designed, railway station got a new beauty. The title appearance and its color was enticement every body. After that the number of platforms and number of Trains have been increased. Now there are 13 platforms in Central Railway station. Express and mails including 72 trains are operating every day. In 1981 the substitute Electric Railway station was open, that time only one platform was there. Everyday 220 substitute electric trains are operating. Including this two railway station everyday at least 2 lakh passengers are coming and going. The Height of Railway station’s central over roof’s tower was 136 feet. In the top of this there is 4 face giant Clock. It will raise sound for every 15 minutes and inform the passengers about the time. It’s sound will hear for 3 kilometers. Today (Tuesday) the Railway station design was completing its 100th year, like that on 7th Chennai Central Railway station is completing its 133rd years (from the station built.). We should be proud to tell that we have a beautiful heritage place in Chennai.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Bibliotecha Alexandrina

The Bibliotecta Alexandrina located in the Egyptian city of Alexandria can be seen as the ultimate tribute to the great Library of Alexandria. Promoting the city as both a center of cultural and scientific excellence, the library which opened in 2002 stands testimony of the determination to seek knowledge and celebrate architectural genius.
Read more;

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Blooming cherry tree

Little is as important in the Japanese spring than knowing when the cherry trees will bloom. Last year's prediction was off by several days, leaving forecasters at the Meteorological Agency red faced. Stung by a storm of criticism, the agency has revised its forecasting model to predict when the delicate pink flowers, a national obsession, will emerge.

Global warming, it seems, is to blame. Until this year, the Agency based its prediction on data from the past 50 years but global warming is making those figures less trustworthy and the period has been narrowed to 30 years. The arrival of warmer weather prompts the blooming and Japanese follow the event intensely as it moves south to north over about a month. Media publish frequent updates. The traditional appeal of cherry blossom viewing is said to lie in its poignant reminder of the shortness of life, but for many people it is an excuse to celebrate hanami (cherry-viewing) parties. Planning these parties is a matter of prime importance, which is why accurate predictions are crucial.